Fitting a Ford Raptor With the Right Wheels for Work and Play
One of the easiest ways to make your truck stand out from the pack is by equipping it with a set of aftermarket wheels. With so many options, it can be a little overwhelming when trying to determine which one is best for your ride. Obviously, looks play a huge factor for many. However, for trucks such as our 2012 Ford F-150 Raptor, backspacing is critical. This is largely due to the already tremendously wide stance the Raptor rolls out of the factory with.
To determine a wheel’s backspacing, you’ll measure from the wheel’s mounting surface to the outer lip on the backside of the wheel. The lower the backspacing number, the farther the wheel will set outside of the vehicle. Our 2012 Ford Raptor came from the factory with a little over six inches of backspacing. This allows the stock wheel and tire package to remained tucked neatly in the fenderwells.
OEs typically stick with a high backspacing number and low offset wheel as it lessens strain on your front end components. Offset is referring to the distance from the centerline of the wheel to the wheel mounting surface. Offset is considered positive if it’s towards the outside of the wheel and negative when towards the back side of the wheel. While it all may sound confusing, companies such as KMC Wheels have taken a lot of guess work out by building application-specific wheels. Using the company's vehicle selector option on its website, you can see what wheels work for your vehicle and get an idea on how they look installed.
Our Raptor is a perfect example of this targeted wheel approach. Putting a more common backspacing of 4.5 inches on our truck would push the tire and wheel package farther outside of the truck than most Raptor owners would need or want, so KMC built a wheel that could accommodate the Raptor’s specific needs.
The XD128 KMC Machete Wheels were built with the Raptor enthusiast in mind. This means the cast-aluminum wheel can survive the desert and offer the ideal backspacing to allow the wheel to sit almost perfectly under the fender flares. We opted to order ours in a Matte Grey finish, but Satin Black and Stain Black Machined versions are also available.
The 17-inch Raptor version of the KMC Machete has 5.71 inches of backspacing. This pushes the wheel out slightly to help free up room for a larger tire without adding a high amount of increased leverage that a lower-numbered backspacing would.
At 9 inches wide, the Machete is perfectly suited for handing a 12.50-inch wide tire. We can’t see us ever going beyond that width or over a 37-inch-tall tire, so this size is ideal for our application. While KMC does offer a beadlock version of the Machete, the tall bead guides on the standard version work great to ensure you don't lose a tire in the dirt.
Opting for a 17-inch wheel meant we could transfer over our 315/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler G2 tires. We’ve logged thousands of miles on the treads so far with no failures or issues to report. They even hook up well in the southeast dirt that we frequent.
We have more upgrades on the way for our Raptor, so be sure to check back in as we continue to tweak the incredible off-road worthy half-ton.